Market access on the agendaExport & Market Access
During a recent trip to China, APAL representatives met with senior government officials, significant retailers and other high-level influencers to discuss market access and the Australian apple industry.
APAL CEO, Phil Turnbull; Director Global Development, Andrew Hooke; and Quality Project Manager, Andrew Mandemaker travelled to represent the Australian apple and pear industry on the Taste Australia stand at the China Fruit & Vegetable Fair (China FVF), 3-5 November.
“Participation at China FVF provides important access to Chinese decision makers and an opportunity for the Australian industry to show its interest and support for the Chinese market and put on display our export potential,” Phil explained. “While we were there, we had the opportunity to engage key Chinese government and non-government decision makers involved in making access-related decisions. This is really timely for the apple industry as we’re next in line for market access negotiations.”
During their visit, the trio met with officials from the China Entry Exit Inspection and Quarantine Association (CIQA) and the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) – the two organisations responsible for setting and implementing market access policy.
Other key stakeholder meetings led by APAL were held with senior Australian Department of Agriculture and Austrade officials based at the Australian Embassy in Beijing.
In addition to the government related discussions, the APAL team met with senior executives at e-commerce giant JD.com to gain a better understanding of the opportunity for export in China.
“As our discussions progressed, it became apparent that Chinese consumers are developing a taste for premium, quality, Australian apples from Tasmania. If we can build on this demand, through forming relationships with retailers, there’s a strong likelihood that mainland Australian apples will also enter the market as a premium product once access negotiations are complete,” Phil said.
“As we’ve recently highlighted, export is a key priority for the Australian apple and pear industry. Discussion during our meetings supported the Export Development Strategy findings that China is a market for premium, imported produce of a high quality. Our initial focus will be to supply Tier 1 cities, leading with branded product.”
Subsequent to the visits in China, representatives from the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China visited the APAL office last week to gain a better understanding around quality and the capability of Australian industry around food safety and traceability.
“The delegation was keen to understand how the quality of our fruit is protected and maintained from the orchard through the entire supply chain,” explained Andrew Hooke.
They also discussed the importance of protecting importers’ rights in relation to intellectual property and brand in China, and noted that the division enforcing trademark protection reports to the Ministry of Commerce. “We raised our concern around brand and tree protection for Pink Lady® apples and they indicated there would be support in protecting Australian apple and pear brands against counterfeiting,” Andrew said.
“The Director General Zong Changging also commented on the beauty of our apples saying: ‘your Pink Lady apple is too pretty to eat,” Andrew recalled.
Some of the key Chinese retailers from China FVF will also be visiting Australia later this month and follow-up meetings have been arranged at the APAL office. “There was a very positive tone set during the event,” said Phil. “Ms Lou Junwen from AQSIQ made a point of attending our stand to confirm the commitment towards strengthening relationships and developing trade opportunities between Australia and China, and of course our attendance at the event next year.”
Taste Australia is an initiative by Horticulture Innovation Australia to significantly grow exports by 2025. Previously, APAL has attended China FVF under the Australia Fresh banner.